Fighting with reporters… a conundrum
I’m not one to obsess about the whole ‘Mainstream media vs. Bloggers’ thing, but I had an experience over the weekend that caused me to rethink it some. It all started with an article by Bucky Gleason of The Buffalo News.
The article was generally good. Bucky clearly has a source close to the sale process, and he’s provided plenty of good info about how things have been moving along. Later on, he presents a section titled ‘Who are the prospective GMs?’. In it, he lists Rick Dudley, Don Luce, Craig Patrick, Jim Benning, Claude Loiselle, Pierre McGuire, Mike Mudd, and Jason Botterill as possible condidates. Out of that list, only Patrick and McGuire are NOT currently employed by an NHL franchise in some way.
When I first read this article, I took the list as speculative, just tossing out names that might make sense. Nothing wrong with that at all.
Two weeks later, a new article was posted about Chris Mueller from West Seneca, and his debut with the Thrashers. Good piece on yet another local kid making his way to the big show. Never get tired of reading those.
In this piece, Gleason reference his previous list in a curious (to me) way:
In a column two weeks ago, Rick Dudley, Don Luce, Jim Benning, Craig Patrick, Claude Loiselle, Jason Botterill, Mike Mudd and Pierre McGuire were listed among those who could become available and/or are interested. Feel free to add former Wild GM Doug Risebrough and former Regier underling Larry Carriere to the possibilities.
The ‘and/or are interested’ implies that everyone on his list is interested in the Sabres GM position should it become avaliable. This struck me as odd. Why would someone who is already employed by an NHL franchise show interest in a job that isn’t open? I can’t imagine most would even comment on it on or off the record. I know my employer wouldn’t be pleased if they found out I was talking to people about a job at a competitor, even if it wasn’t a postion that existed yet.
I sent a snarky tweet to Mike Harrington from The Buffalo News about how I felt Gleason took a speculative GM list he created, and then had it morph into a list of interested parties 2 weeks later. (I probably could have left the snark out, so I need to own that.) He was not pleased with my message. The entire twitter conversation is reproduced below.
@BNHarrington Poor job by Bucky sourcing his own made-up GM list as legit in his column yesterday.
@Beechsack Made up list? Please. He has spoken to every person on it, or at least a rep of each, to gauge interest. That’s what MSM does.
@BNHarrington No current GM is going to comment about the Sabres GM position when the job isn’t even open.
@BNHarrington His original article with that GM list is also clearly speculative,just tossing out possibilities. http://bit.ly/fvBJLu
@Beechsack dude, get a grip….you’re just only 100% wrong..NO ONE talks about things before they happen? Really? Come on. #realitycheck
@BNHarrington Bucky made up a list of possible candidates in article 1, then cited that list as interested candidates on article 2. Period.
@BNHarrington I have no problem with speculation, just don’t try to play it off as fact later. As a reader, that’s how it looks like to me.
@BNHarrington I just have a hard time accepting that employed GMs would discuss other potential job openings while still under contract.
@Beechsack the list is NOT made up. Why is that so hard to understand? He talked to EVERYONE on it or their reps. and SOME CALLED HIM
@Beechsack The MSM doesn’t make things up dude. Sorry. That’s called having standards.
@Beechsack i’ve read your replies before. You’re way better than that. The facts are what I’m telling you. It’s not speculation.
Maybe I’m naive to assume that an employee of one NHL team wouldn’t talk about a possible job opening on another team. The NHL is (allegedly) very strict on enforcing tampering rules with players, and I am of the opinion they’d be just as strict on that type of thing with front office employees.
My issue is this. The initial list of GM candidates was presented in a way that made it seem like speculation. If it wasn’t, I feel like that should have been spelled out. If contact with some of these individuals couldn’t be spelled out because of tampering concerns, then the names shouldn’t have been published. Gleason never wrote that he had contacts with these folks, that information came from his colleague. From the perspective of a reader, it just looks sorta fishy. In hockey circles, that’s basically Eklund’s MO. Contrary to what Mike Harrington says, the mainstream media does like to provide an opinion, then source that opinion as factual news later. (Exhibit A : The kindergardners singing to Obama fiasco on Fox News). The Buffalo News doesn’t usually do this, and they deserve credit for that.
What do you guys think? Am I way off base here? Do you think Gleason should have made it clearer that his GM list wasn’t just speculation and that he had reason to list those named? To that end, do you feel that readers should question professional journalists, or just accept what they say as truth? Let me know what you think.
(And to Mike Harrington, my goal was not to offend you or TBN in any way. If you took any of my comments in that way, I apologize. My personal belief is simply that just as professional journalists question everything to find the truth, readers are entitled to question things too. )